Novak: Blame Catholic Leaders, Not Pope, for Pro-Abortion Communion

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 28, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Novak: Blame Catholic Leaders, Not Pope, for Pro-Abortion Pols and Communion

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
April 28
, 2008

Washington, DC ( — In a new editorial today, syndicated columnist Bob Novak says Catholic leaders in the United States are to blame for pro-abortion lawmakers taking communion during a mass with Pope Benedict. He says the Catholic officials abdicated their duty, as the Pope has previously indicated, to monitor their flock.

As previously noted, pro-life Catholics were upset with pro-abortion Catholic members of Congress who took communion.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Sens. John Kerry, Christopher Dodd and Ted Kennedy received communion during the papal mass at Nationals Park. And former GOP mayor and presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani received it in New York.

"Archbishop Donald Wuerl of Washington and Cardinal Edward Egan, archbishop of New York, invited them. Given choice seats, they took Communion as a matter of course," Novak wrote.

Novak says the pro-abortion pols receiving communion has no bearing on Pope Benedict’s stance on abortion and communion.

"On the contrary, it reflected disobedience to Benedict by the archbishops of New York and Washington," he contends.

Novak says he spoke with Vatican officials who say "the pope has not retreated from his long-held position that pro-choice politicians should be deprived of Communion."

"The decisions in Washington and New York were not his. The effect was to dull the pope’s messages of faith, obligation and compassion," Novak writes.

Catholic bishops in the United States are divided on whether pro-abortion lawmakers should receive communion.

Archbishop Raymond Burke of St. Louis has been one of the most outspoken on saying they shouldn’t and that he will refuse to give communion to them. Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, the previous archbishop for the nation’s capital, differed with Burke and took the opposite view.

Novak says Wuerl should not have invited the pro-abortion politicians to the event, which would have eliminated the potential for controversy.

"There are devout pro-life Catholics who oppose rejection of any worshiper at the Communion rail but believe bishops should publicly manifest disapproval of Catholic pro-choice politicians," Novak added. "The bishops of Washington and New York do not."

"At Yankee Stadium, Benedict spoke of the ‘inalienable dignity and rights’ of ‘the most defenseless of all human beings, the unborn child in the mother’s womb,’" he wrote.

"In parishes across the country, the faithful hear their priests echo the Holy Father’s words. Those professions ring hollow when pro-choice politicians are honored as they were during the pope’s visit," Novak concludes.